The Sanctuary Duet takes place at the same time as the Lighthouse Duet but should be read after Lighthouse. However, if you avoided the other duology because you didn’t want to read something quite so dark, but you still want to read something set in Navronne, it is possible to read Sanctuary Duet on its own; you just might be a bit more confused about the worldbuilding than you otherwise would be, because some things are explained less directly than they might otherwise be, assuming the reader already understands what’s going on from having read Lighthouse.
Legendborn tries to do a few too many things at the same time, and as a result is a bit messy and inconsistent when it could have been great. Bree Matthews is a gifted high-school student who gets accepted to an “Early College” program at UNC Chapel Hill along with her best friend Alice. She’s excited to attend, but everything changes when her mom dies in a car accident the day after she receives her acceptance. When she arrives at UNC, she’s dealing with her grief, being a Black girl in a mostly white campus - and a secret society of demon hunters called the Legendborn.
Battle of the Linguist Mages has one of the most off-the-rails wild bonkers plots I’ve ever encountered in a fantasy novel, ever. First of all, it’s called Battle of the Linguist Mages, and it’s literally about mages who use linguistics to do battle. Features include an incredibly snarky protagonist named Isobel, who happens to be the best player in the world at the virtual reality game Sparkle Dungeon (secretly a method of training linguist mages), sentient alien punctuation marks that have formed symbiotic relationships in humans' brains, power morphemes, and more uses of the words “instantiate” and “ontological” than I expected to see in a fantasy novel, ever.
You know that video with the couple on a picnic blanket that zooms out until you’re looking at the entire galaxy? In Jade City we were on the picnic blanket. In Jade War we zoomed out and saw three entire years of life. Now with Jade Legacy, Fonda Lee spans decades to conclude the saga of an entire generation of Kauls, ushering in the next. It’s a work of art. It’s everything you could ever ask for. It will leave you emotionally bare at every twist and turn as No Peak and the Mountain continue to fight each other at home and abroad, and new enemies await both clans at every moment of their journeys.
Jade War continues where Jade City left off, with No Peak struggling to keep up with their rival Mountain clan in Janloon on the island nation of Kekon, and the while focus remains on this struggle, the struggle itself adapts to a more international scale as a proxy war breaks out and clans pick sides. Even more so than in Jade City, there’s no single focus to the plot; instead, we follow the lives of the major characters across the globe and over a time frame of several years, watching them adapt to new circumstances and new challenges. And like Jade City, it’s utterly captivating.
A stunning opening to a modern urban fantasy trilogy with deep worldbuilding, Jade City follows the saga of the No Peak clan vs the Mountain clan (haha, get it? it took me an embarrassingly long time to get it). Themes include the rise of globalism, being an outsider, the costs of showing mercy, government corruption, traditionalism, stigma and self-hatred, self-discovery, prejudice, love, different ways to show bravery, family obligations and their costs, loyalty, and so much more. It’s also about superpowered marshal artist gang leaders who ride around in fancy cars and beat people up in breathtaking action sequences.